Paper presented at the 28th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6 - 9 July 2009 "Sustainable Transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Road transport plays a critical role in promoting mobility, accessibility and poverty alleviation. While average household car ownership rates in the developing world remain low, there has generally been an unprecedented growth in vehicle population, particularly in urban areas. This has also seen a rapid increase in road accidents and fatalities. The causes of road carnages are multiple.They can however be classified broadly under engineering, environmental, mechanical and human factors, usually termed: Human (H), Vehicle (V) and Road (R) environment factors. These broad categories need to be adequately and critically analyzed for each accident in order to design sustainable, integrated and effective preventive responses. Accident statistics, particularly in the developing world, are generally incomplete and inadequate. This makes it very difficult to carry out holistic analyses, design responses and preventive measures and prioritize them. As a result, most responses are rather reactive, thereby only addressing the symptoms. This has resulted in many people continuously getting injured or losing their lives daily.
This paper proposes a multi-pronged approach, which utilizes the above broad causes to holistically analyze accidents. It makes use of a simple approach which weights the different causes in order to identify and trace the causal chain involved in a particular accident. Such a holistic causal analysis of different accidents is useful in the determination and prioritization of responses and preventive measures. It also provides a framework for predicting the possibility of accidents occurring at particular locations and hence the determination of black spots. It also ensures that responses and preventive measures are driven from a multi-sectoral basis.
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